1. CFTC Files Lawsuit Against $1.7B Multilevel Marketing Schemers
Cornelius Johannes Steynberg and Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited (MTI) have been sued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for alleged registration and fraud violations.
Steynberg is charged with participating in a multilevel marketing (MLM) scam that operated internationally and generated 29,421 BTC, or more than $1.7 billion, according to the complaint. In the roughly three-year scheme, which ran from May 18, 2018, to March 30, 2021, the agency claims Steynberg also used his company MTI. The civil lawsuit was filed at the Western District of Texas U.S. District Court.
“The little trading that Defendants did was unprofitable, and they misappropriated essentially all of the at least 29,421 Bitcoin accepted from participants,” said CFTC Commissioner Kristin Johnson. “Fraudsters often take full advantage of new technology, global connectivity, and perceived lack of a cop on the beat to perpetrate their scams.”
2. DOJ Announced Criminal Charges Against Baller Ape Club “Rug Pull”
The Baller Ape Club NFT collection’s developer is facing criminal charges for organizing a purported “rug pull,” according to the Department of Justice’s announcement made this afternoon.
The accusations, which were made along with those in three other cryptocurrency fraud cases, mark the second time that federal prosecutors have pursued an NFT “rug-pull” scheme, in which the developers of an NFT project trick investors into buying NFTs by making false claims about the project’s utility and community benefits before abandoning it and escaping with their money.
Vietnamese national Le Anh Traun is accused of conspiring to conduct wire fraud on one count and international money laundering on another.
Traun is accused of collecting $2.6 million from Baller Ape NFT purchasers before quickly deleting the company’s website and laundering the money. He transferred the illegally obtained gains into several cryptocurrencies and moved them across various blockchains, a process known as “chain-hopping,” according to the Justice Department.
3. Facebook Starts Experimenting With Polygon and Ethereum NFTs On Profiles
On its main social network, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has started rolling out NFTs for some American producers. Facebook will shortly introduce support for NFTs on Solana and Flow after initially focusing on Ethereum and Polygon NFTs.
Users will be able to link their Facebook profiles to their bitcoin wallets. Additionally, they will have the option to convert their NFTs into Facebook posts, which may then be shared, liked, commented on, and responded to just like any other post.
Martin Bryant, a tech and media consultant, asserted that Meta’s statement “obviously wants to offer a home to Web3 folks” given that the business has recently started testing modifications to Facebook Groups that will make them “more like Discord.”
4. Deutsche Bank Expects Bitcoin To Reach $28K By The End Of 2022
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that senior economist and market strategist Marion Laboure and research analyst Galina Pozdnyakova at Deutsche Bank expected that the price of bitcoin will increase to $28,000 by the end of the year.
Given how closely BTC has been trading with American stocks, according to their calculations, bitcoin’s price will increase 38 percent from its present level of $20,329 in the near future.
They pointed out that since November, indexes like the S&P 500 and the heavily tech-focused Nasdaq 100 have been associated with cryptocurrencies. The S&P 500 has decreased by 21% from the year’s commencement. By the end of the year, according to the strategists at Deutsche Bank, the index should return to its levels from January.
5. Argentina’s Tax Agency To Pace Up Digital Wallet Seizures
Tax officials all around the world are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the many methods that taxpayers can use to conceal their money in order to avoid paying taxes. The AFIP, an Argentine tax agency, has been active in seizing possession of the digital wallets of individuals who owe money to the institution. In other ways, these digital wallets are not directly tied to banks because they are custodial services offered to third parties by fintech companies. When the AFIP added these to its list of assets subject to seizure in February, the rationale for the seizures was established.
The organization reportedly executed 1,269 seizures against consumers who have accounts on such platforms since last February, according to local media. Due to the precautions the Argentinian government took to protect its residents’ property during the Covid-19 pandemic cycle, the organization had gone 19 months without carrying out any debt collections prior to this.
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